Apple will release watchOS 9 on September 12th, the company announced at its “Far Out” event today.
The public beta of watchOS 9 has been available since July, showing off a number of useful new features orbiting a more robust suite of fitness metrics alongside other quality-of-life improvements. While it may not be quite as exciting as the announcement of a new Apple Watch or iPhone, the new OS will be available for anyone with at least an Apple Watch Series 4 and an iPhone 8 or later currently loaded with iOS 16.
The last major update to the watchOS gave us the ability to edit messages with the help of the crown on the Apple Watch, added more accessibility features, and the ability to create multiple timers, among several other improvements focused on meditation and mindfulness.
With watchOS 9, changes to fitness tracking features are front and center. The new OS adds metrics for heart rate zones and elevation data while providing new ways to customize how you view information. There’s also a new multisport activity for triathletes, and Apple’s subscription-based workout app, Fitness Plus, is getting updated with new metrics for rowing, cycling, and treadmill workouts.
Outside of a bunch of new numbers to look at while you sweat, watchOS 9 has several wellness-centric improvements. The medication reminders built into the Apple Watch health app are one such addition, and you can even add medications to your schedule by scanning its prescription label. The sleep tracking feature also features comparison charts for various metrics, including respiratory and heart rate.
The watchOS 9 update also comes with even more robust personalization options, allowing you to customize your existing watchfaces with solid and color gradient backgrounds. Additional aesthetic options are a small touch but pay real dividends in making old watchfaces feel new again. Apple has also added watchfaces for the lunar calendar. Lastly, the Portraits watchface now supports pets (finally!). If you want to get a preview of what watchOS 9 has in store, users can still enroll in the public beta through Apple’s website.